I HAVE ALWAYS been a fan of Alfred Hitchcock…
In one of his classic TV episodes, he dramatized the story of a wicked woman who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In a courtroom scene, the angry woman screamed at the judge and vowed that, no matter where she was imprisoned, she would escape and come back to make him sorry that he had sentenced her.
Guards removed her and she took that infamous bus ride to prison. En route, she noticed something which was to become part of her escape plan. She saw an old man, a prison inmate, covering up a grave outside the prison walls. She soon realized that the only way she could escape was to get a key to the prison’s gate. And the only inmate who had a key was the old man who assisted in the burial of dead prisoners. In fact, he not only buried them, but he also built the caskets in which they were buried. His job included rolling the casket onto an old grave cart outside the walls, lowering it into the hole, and covering it up with dirt.
The old man was going blind and needed cataract surgery. The woman discovered this fact and approached the old man, telling him that if he would help her escape, outside the walls she had enough money to pay all of his medical expenses. He could have his eyes completely fixed.
At first, he said, “No, ma’am. I can’t do that.”
“Oh, yes, you can,” she replied. “Outside of this place, I have all the money you need to pay for your cataract surgery. If you help me get out of here, I will give you that money. If you ever hope to have an operation, you will help me escape.”
Finally, the man reluctantly gave in. Here was the plan. The next time she heard the toll of the bell which signaled the death of an inmate, she would slip down to his workroom where he made his caskets. She was to locate the casket in which the old man had placed the corpse, then secretly slide herself into that same casket and pull the top down tightly. Early the next morning, the old man would roll her along with the corpse in the casket, out to the place of burial. He would drop the casket into the hole, dump a little dirt on it, and the next day he would come back, uncover the grave, release the lid on the casket, and she would be free.
A perfect plan…almost.
Late one night she heard the toll of the bell. Someone had died. This was her moment! She secretly slid off her cot and made her way down the hallway. Looking into the dimly lit room she saw the casket, and without hesitation she lifted the lid and in the darkness slipped into the box. After squeezing in beside the corpse, she pulled the lid down tightly. Within a matter of hours she could feel herself being rolled to a grave site. She smiled as the casket was placed in the hole and clumps of dirt began to hit the top of the casket. Before long, she was sealed beneath the earth. Yet she smiled. In fact, she couldn’t contain her excitement. She had done it!
Time began to drag. The next day came and passed into the night and still the old man didn’t show up. Now she began to worry. Where was he? What could possibly have gone wrong? Why hadn’t he shown up? She broke into a cold sweat.
In a moment of panic, she lit a match, glanced at the corpse next to her and discovered…the old man himself. Her only hope lay buried right beside her.
THOUGHT: The greatest encouragement man will ever know is the giving of Jesus Christ to our world. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, we can have HOPE of eternal life. (David Jeremiah)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3